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For children ages 6 through 11, the proportion hovered around 7 percent during those years. But for children 12 through 17, it rose from just under 7 percent to nearly 10 percent. That increase wasn't seen in previous government estimates, said Patricia Pastor, a CDC health statistician and the study's lead author.
It may reflect a growing understanding that a child -- especially an older kid -- can have ADHD without being disruptively impulsive or hyperactive, said Jeff Epstein, director of the ADHD center at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.
Another factor may be that ADHD is sometimes diagnosed when adolescents are being checked for other conditions, such as depression, said Dr. Mohammad Ghaziuddin, director of the University of Michigan's ADHD and autism program.
Meanwhile, the use of ADHD medications has been increasing. According to the CDC, doctor's visits for children under 15 where methylphenidate -- also known as Ritalin -- was prescribed or given went from 1.9 million in 1993 to 3.2 million in 2005.
The marketing of newer ADHD drugs like Aderall XR and Strattera to adults and older kids is pushing up use, experts said.
"I think the industry does drive a lot of it," said Kollins of Duke, referring to pharmaceutical marketing.
On the Net:
The CDC report: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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